AT&S, STMicroelectronics and a Swiss Start-up Craft Innovative Bionic Ear

25.09.2014 14:53

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AT&S, a leader in advanced packaging solutions, Soundchip SA, a Swiss-based innovator in wearable sound technology, and STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader, announced their collaboration in innovating a bionic hearing module. When installed into a personal audio device, the module delivers an amazing wearable sound experience controlled at the ear by the wearer and software intelligence.

Personal audio devices, like an MP3 player or smartphone, equipped with the bionic hearing module, provide wearers with the ability to electronically “open” and “close” their ears to ambient sound conditions, or even to augment ambient sound with programmed audio from a connected smart device. This capability can fully protect wearers from noise in situations where the ambient sound is too loud, or to open the ear for natural conversation with others, without having to remove the audio device, suffer from the discomfort of occlusion, or worse, the pain of loud noise.

The bionic hearing module integrates a broad spectrum of advanced electronics to further enhance the on-the-go audio experience, including head-tracking and other sensing, to enable exciting new features, including augmented-audio guidance and biometric monitoring.

The multi-mode audio capabilities of the bionic hearing module are enabled through the use of HD-PA technology developed by the Swiss start-up Soundchip. Their implementation in a compact form factor is made possible through the use of patented Soundstrate technology, which enables the efficient combination of electronic, acoustic, and transmission means within a single, compact mechanical structure.

“For the past four years, Soundchip has been leading the parade for smart wearable sound to market-leading companies in the consumer, mobile and aviation markets. We have been thrilled by their response and now see that consumers are ready to experience a new wave of smart, software-enabled wearable sound devices,” said Mark Donaldson, CEO of Soundchip.

“Enabling bionic hearing demands the interconnection of robust and reliable high-performance silicon components within a complex structure—that must be comfortable to wear. By combining our leading MEMS and micro-processing devices with complementary solutions from Soundchip and AT&S, we have the right combination of technology and know-how to deliver this ground-breaking solution,” said Andrea Onetti, Volume MEMS & Analog Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics.

The bionic hearing module is expected to be available for customer sampling by the second quarter of 2015.

About AT&S
AT&S is the European market leader and one of the leading manufacturers of high-value printed circuit boards. It currently employs about 7,300 people.

About Soundchip SA
Soundchip develops revolutionary, HD-PA-compliant wearable sound solutions for the world’s leading suppliers of consumer electronics devices and passenger entertainment systems. The company’s solutions enthral listeners with their environmentally resilient sound performance, enhanced speaking comfort and software-enabled, smart-audio capabilities.

About STMicroelectronics N/V
ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing solutions. In 2013, the Company’s net revenues were $8.08 billion.

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